The season-opening meet for teams in the Chattanooga Area Swim League was supposed to be this past Monday, but only two were able to complete the task as stormy weather more than had its way with the local swim community.
There were six meets scheduled for Thursday, including the Catoosa Great White Sharks, who traveled across Hamilton County to face the Red Bank Gators. The trip was well worth it for those folks from Fort Oglethorpe as they pinned a convincing 483-306 loss on the Gators.
Red Bank doesn’t have the biggest pool in the league, but they also don’t have the smallest. Thursday’s gathering was totally shoulder-to-shoulder as swimmers, parents and other interested parties found their way to the pool deck for the battle of Red Division teams.
No doubt, there were some swimmers who elected to stay home for whatever reason, but the Catoosa team was almost at full strength and that’s where those secondary places scored a bunch of points that the Gators had no answer for.
Six Catoosa swimmers scored the maximum 19 points while only one reached that goal for Red Bank.
Those six included Ayden Kadetz, Julia Striker, Tyler Braly, Keeley Mountjoy, Colson Chappelear and Allie O’Donnell. Red Bank’s leading scorer was Benton Bilbrey.
“Organized chaos” was the term used to desctibe the action by veteran coach Ken Buchanan, who is in his 36th year as a summer swim coach. He just wanted to make sure all of his kids were in the right place at the right time. For the most part, they were.
Buchanan was quite relieved when the meet finally ended after more than three hours of continuous action with no break in the middle.
“The main thing is that I survived,” Buchanan said as Red Bank swimmers stacked chairs and started reeling in lane dividers.
“The first meet is always a good test for the experienced kids and a gage for the new ones to see just how they react under real meet conditions. We all managed to get through it, so overall I’m pleased.
“I’m sure we have much to work on, but it’s always nice to get the first one in the books,” he added.
Evan Moeller is the head coach for the Great White Sharks. He graduated from McCallie in 2017 and just graduated from UTC last month with a degree in Applied Math with plans of becoming an actuary.
Despite the craziness of his last month with school ending and trying to get his swim team off and running, he was pretty much at ease on Thursday while his team did a great job of taking care of business.
“We have a bunch of younger kids who are swimming for the first time ever and this was their first meet, so it was a great start for us,” Moeller said while standing at the opposite end of the pool from the starting blocks as the freestyle relays were being contested.
“Our main goal for today was to swim legal and minimize our DQs. We also wanted to be sure we were where we needed to be.
“Perhaps the thing I liked most was seeing all of the older kids cheering for the younger ones. They don’t practice together and most don’t even know the other’s names, but they showed a lot of support for each other and that’s what makes this such a fun event,” he added.
While the Great White Sharks were winners in their first meet on Thursday, the Fairyland Flash improved to 2-0 with an impressive 13-point win on the road at Calhoun after posting a big win at home on Monday against Country Club.
The Ooltewah Tidal Waves also improved to 2-0 with Thursday’s 417-375 win over Stuart Heights coming on the heels of Monday’s big win at Dalton.
Other Thursday winners included Signal Mountain, Big Ridge and the Waterdogs.
Red Bank will be at home again on Monday to host Country Club while Catoosa will be home to host Fairyland in a meet that might determine the Red Division champion.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)